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China's Great Wall Motor has reported a record drop in sales, as the world's largest auto market witnesses a sharp slowdown, spooking Chinese car makers and dealers alike. Great Wall's filing to the Shanghai Stock Exchange Friday showed its third quarter revenue plunged by 20%, making it its steepest ever quarterly drop, and net profit for the period was down 50%.
It comes as once red-hot sales of SUVs in China are beginning to cool, with overall car sales in the country witnessing their steepest monthly decline in nearly seven years this September. Stoking concerns that the market might be contracting this year for the first time in decades, amid cooling economic growth and a biting trade war.
A stalling of China's giant auto sector will be a concern for the country's leaders in Beijing. It's a major driver of the economy and an important barometer of Chinese consumers' willingness to open their purse strings.